Global company joins the race for sustainability, with plans to test the fake chicken with customers and launch the product next year. It would decrease calories in food, promoting a vegetarian style of life.

The Impossible Burger is part of a wave of plant-based burgers that appeals to meat lovers. (Photo: Eileen Blass, USAT) KFC plans to sell a vegetarian equivalent of its famous chicken. The company’s unit in the United Kingdom and Ireland unit last week announced that it plans to test the faux chicken with customers later this year. If successful, it could launch the product in 2019. The move isn’t being billed as a concession to animal-rights activists. Rather, the vegetarian option is part of a plan to reduce calories by 20% per serving by 2025 The vegetarian option is believed to be the first time a major fast-food chain is putting fake chicken on the menu. “We always look to respond to the latest changes in lifestyle and dining habits of our customers and a key part of that for our business in the UK is offering lighter options and more choice,” the company said in an e-mail. “That’s why we’re looking into vegetarian options that would offer the great taste of KFC to new and existing customers who are changing their dining habits.” More: Top-rated CEOs for diversity: Leaders of T-Mobile, Intuit and HubSpot More: Tech’s rising influence on 401(k) plans: Pros and cons of tech’s swelling weight in S&P 500 KFC UK & Ireland’s foray into vegetarian dishes stems from a growing trend not just in Europe, but also in the U.S.. More people want to have healthier lifestyles and to know what’s in their food, experts say. Consumers increasingly seek out organic and less-processed foods, while those with concerns about antibiotics in meat and poultry and animal welfare are turning to plant-based alternatives. Some 14% of U.S. consumers, or 43 million people, regularly use plant-based alternatives to traditional foods, such as almond milk, tofu and veggie […]

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